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04 June 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Charl Devenish
Prof Cathryn Tonne
Air pollution not only costs lives, it costs money too. Pictured is Prof Cathryn Tonne presenting a guest lecture on air pollution at the Bloemfontein Campus.

Health effects associated with ambient air pollution (AAP) have been well documented. Subsequently, the relationship between pollution and financial outcomes have also become a focus for case studies globally. An Environmental Research journal article revealed that “low and middle-income countries are disproportionately affected by the global burden of adverse health effects caused by AAP”. 

A high price to pay

In 2012, high concentrations of air pollution caused 7.4% of all deaths, costing South Africa up to 6% of its Gross Domestic Product. According to the recent International Growth Centre study conducted by senior University of Cape Town researchers, this is a direct consequence of the country’s heavy dependence of fossil fuels, a source of health-damaging air pollution and greenhouse pollutants.

Stunted human and economic growth

These South African statistics are attested to by Prof Cathryn Tonne who recently presented a guest lecture on air pollution which was hosted by the University of the Free State (UFS) Business School.

“Air pollution can affect economic development through several pathways, and health is an important one. Air pollution is linked to shorter life expectancy, chronic disease, asthma exacerbation and many other health outcomes that result in absenteeism from work and school. These have large direct costs to the health system.” 

Prof Tonne says that air pollution exposure in children is linked to reduced cognitive development, with important impacts on human capital. As a result, children are not reaching their full potential in terms of neurodevelopment, which has an effect on their income prospects and the economy as a whole. 

Resolving a looming disaster

Technology may be employed to radically clean the air. Cities need to lead in the reduction of air pollution by promoting renewable energy, using active transport such as walking or cycling, and investing in infrastructure to make this safe and attractive. 

With researchers playing a major role in strengthening the case for aggressive air pollution control, the government needs to implement policies in order to control sources of air pollution. This global health and economic issue also requires individuals and communities to play their part to improve air quality.

News Archive

Heinrich Brüssow named as Kovsie Alumnus of the Year
2010-08-19

Ms Jackie Ntshingila  Prof. Teuns Verschoor  Prof. Benito Khotseng  Heinrich Brüssow 

The Alumni of the University of the Free State (UFS) have named Heinrich Brüssow as the Kovsie Alumnus of the Year for 2009.

At the same time, Ms Jackie Ntshingila, the Provincial Manager of the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), will receive the Kovsie Alumni Cum Laude Award, while the Executive Management Award will be awarded to Prof. Teuns Verschoor, acting Senior Vice-Rector at the UFS, and Prof. Benito Khotseng. These awards, which are made annually to honour alumni of the UFS for their exceptional achievements and contributions to the university, will be awarded on Friday, 3 September 2010.

Heinrich is currently one of the most formidable Free State Cheetahs players. During the international Super 14 Competition he was a pillar of strength for his team in many respects. He was one of the outstanding players in the match between the Springboks and the Lions. He has established himself in the triumphant Springbok team as one of the definite choices. He received the Man-of-the-Match award in the Springboks’ victory over the All Blacks on 25 July 2009, as well as the awards as the Provincial Player of the Castle SA 2009 Tournament, the SA Rugby Young Player of the Year 2009 and the 2009 Sports24 Performer of the Month.

Ms Ntshingila will receive the Kovsie Alumni Cum Laude Award for her role in the business development sector in the Free State and particularly the empowerment of women in the business sector. Her constructive inputs on various committees have lead to the outstanding role that she has played to expand SEDA in the Free State from 1 to 56 members and five branches during a relatively short period.

Prof. Verschoor will receive an Executive Management Award for the tremendous role he has played in many student matters, research, transformation and other university matters. Recognition is also given to the role that he fulfilled as acting Rector of the university during 2008-2009. In this he has emphasised his passion and commitment towards the university. In 2004 he received a Centenary Medal for management, diversity and student transformation.

Prof. Khotseng will receive an Executive Management Award for his influential and leading role during the 1990s, when the UFS was established as an outstanding institution. Prof. Khotseng played a leading and influential role as Vice-Rector: Student Affairs. He has served on the UFS Council from 1993 and in 1994 he accepted the position as Senior Manager: Strategic Programmes at Kovsies. He managed transformation and the marketing of the university in the black community with distinction. In 1995 he helped to diffuse the conflict in residences and to create a culture of learning. With the help of the Multicultural and Transformation Committees he taught persons to respect and understand one another. In 2004 he also received a Centenary Medal. 

The coveted Kovsie Alumni Awards will be handed over at a Kovsie Alumni breakfast. All alumni are welcome at the breakfast which will take place in the Reitz Hall of the UFS Centenary Complex. The cost is R50 per person and includes a delicious breakfast. If you are interested in attending, please contact Annanda Calitz at 051 401 3382 or ficka@ufs.ac.za  
 
Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za
19 August 2010

 

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